Our two cars are not enough.
This past summer both kids got their driver’s license. My daughter is now driving to college as she commutes from home and my son is a senior in High School – hello, of course he needs a car.
So what to do for Mom and Dad? Mom has the longer commute on the freeway and needs a car, so a new car for Mom. Dad has a commute of four miles through town to work. So what to do for Dad (me)? An additional car … good hiking shoes …. or his dream, a new bike?
Yep, a new commuter Bike. A Trek Soho to be precise; the Honda Accord of bikes (solid, reliable and still fun to drive). My love to ride has never left and I am committed to riding daily even as the days get shorter and the cold, wet weather arrives.
I have commuted by bike since late August and so far so good. The ride is easy-going to work with a bias downhill and the ride home is more of a workout with a shower waiting at home.
Bike commuting is a great way to slow down and think while I get some exercise. Already I have some observations and see the bike as a vehicle to teach us some lessons on leadership.
As such here are some lessons from the seat of a bike:
Life is not a race. You have seen them. The bike racers with fancy bikes wearing bright and tight clothing. They ride with speed and focus as apparently there is a race underway. I let them pass as I enjoy my ride.
Of course there are times to push hard and even race in our lives. There are more times though when we should slow down and enjoy the journey. I am a dedicated “unracer”. This term coined by Grant Petersen in his book, Just Ride, points to those folks who just love to ride a bike and understand that not every ride is a race.
Vision is more important than you think. A good bicyclist needs to have good vision ahead, behind and to the side. A sixth-sense of when something is creeping up behind you and when that car door will open in front of you. A leader needs this level of vision as well.
New bicyclists learn to look in the direction they want to turn and travel. Your bike will follow your eyes. As leaders we should remember this lesson and keep our vision on where we want to go. Our body and spirit will follow our eyes when we fix them firmly on our goal ahead.
A routine is good, but shake it up occasionally. For years when I commuted by car I took the same route each day. I was confident this approach was the fastest and most efficient way to work. Now by bike I search out new routes to work. I know which one is the fastest, but others allow new experiences and reasons to explore.
As a leader we need to watch out for when we are set into a routine. Is there a different way that may give more insight to our work life and operations? Get on your bike at work and try a new route occasionally. If nothing else you may discover that your original path is best. Now you know.
Energy Persists. My energy level at work after bike commuting is higher and sustainable. By using energy I gain energy. Leading involves movement and tapping into this energy level.
Attitude is king. “There is no bad weather, only bad equipment”. I read this somewhere and loved it. We can prepare for anything from a cold and wet bike commute to the difficult weather patterns at work. Stay positive as a leader and carry on.
Finally, watch out for squirrels while riding to work. I am just saying.
All the best and WeRideTogether